Publications we loved, and the big news stories from the last month in photobooks – including the nominees from the 2019 Mack First Book Award and an interview with photobook collector extraordinaire Manfred Heiting
Born in 1987, Piero Percoco started taking pictures seven years ago, in his hometown Bari, Italy. He never studied photography – “I was never able to afford it,” he says – but sometimes he bought books, and inspired by photographers like Stephen Shore and William Eggleston, Percoco began to make photographs on his smartphone, and upload them to his Instagram, @therainbow_is_underestimated.
Seven years on, Percoco has 452,000 followers, and regularly posting photographs that extract the magic out of the nuances of his daily life in Southern Italy. Last year, he published his first book with Skinnerboox, Prism Interiors, which was edited by American photographer and publisher Jason Fulford.
Now, as his second book with Skinnerboox, The Rainbow is Underestimated, becomes available for preorder, BJP catches up with the photographer about his new release and how he built his career through social media.
In the mid-1960s, a vast concrete housing estate began to rise out of a neglected marshland on the south bank of the River Thames. Headed by the Greater London Council (GLC), the scheme was seen as visionary; Thamesmead would provide a marina-esque lifestyle with plenty of greenery, and wide walkways that connected housing with schools and local amenities, all set within striking brutalist architecture. Thamesmead was to be the “town of tomorrow”.
Five years ago though, it was announced that the estate would be undergoing a huge redevelopment, and now a new book published by Here Press, titled The Town of Tomorrow: 50 years of Thamesmead, celebrates its part and present.
Dawoud Bey, Jess T. Dugan, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Shahidul Alam, and Zadie Smith have been announced as the honourees of this year’s Infinity Awards, organised by The International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York.
American photographer Dawoud Bey will be presented with the Art award, Jess T. Dugan with Emerging Photographer, and Zadie Smith with Critical Writing and Research, for her piece in the New Yorker titled Deana Lawson’s Kingdom of Restored Glory. This year’s jury was composed of: Erin Barnett, director of exhibitions and collections, ICP; David Gonzalez, co-editor, Lens Blog; Kristen Joy Watts, editor of @design, Instagram; and Rhea L. Combs, curator of film and photography, National Museum of African American History and Culture.
When Kanghee Kim started making photographs, it was out of frustration. Due to visa complications, Kim hasn’t been able to leave the US for 10 years, even to visit her relatives back home in Korea, because her entry back into the states isn’t guaranteed. Now 27, Kim moved to New York with her family when she was 14. Getting a green card should have been simple – at the time there was a need for more nurses in the states, and her mother was helping to fill that gap – but their lawyer missed a deadline, and Kim was never able to secure a citizenship. Eventually, she was protected under the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy, but her status has made leaving the country too much of a risk. “I really miss Korea, especially over the last few years,” she says. “Korea is the motherland. Whenever I see photos or hear about it I feel a bit torn.” Kim didn’t get into photography until her final year of studying painting at Maryland Institute College …
The director and co-curator of the award-winning Organ Vida festival in Croatia – which this year devoted its programme to work by women – picks out the projects that interested her in 2018
“It’s a bit hard to find words for this – You don’t look Native to me won the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant,” says Maria Sturm. “I feel exponentially happy and glad to be sharing the list with other women photographers whose work I admire.”
Sturm has won the prize in a strong year for the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant, with the 31 shortlisted photographers including Magnum Photos’ Diana Markosian, Sputnik Photos’ Karolina Gembara, and Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize-winner Alice Mann. But her long-term project You don’t look Native to me, which shows young Native Americans in Pembroke, North Carolina impressed the judges with its sensitive approach to its subjects.
BJP’s annual Cool + Noteworthy issue is back, presenting the people, places and projects that have caught our eye over the past year.
Among this year’s noteworthies is the photographer behind our cover story, Tyler Mitchell, who became the first black cover photographer of American Vogue when he shot Beyoncé for the September 2018 issue. He tells the BJP about his new-found mission since returning home after living in London: “I realised I have a responsibility to be, specifically, a black American photographer and filmmaker.”
We also spotlight Kensuke Koike, a Japanese collagist who gives new life to old photo albums. Koike has attracted a loyal following on Instagram with his savvy cut-and-move videos, making his latest book one of the most anticipated on 2018. Feng Li is another newcomer who has made waves in fashion photography over the past year. This issue we feature Li’s playful fashion shoot in his native Chengdu, a creative city on the rise in China.
“What do I know about it? All I know is what’s on the internet.” So said Donald Trump in an interview in March 2016, after he was confronted about the legitimacy of a video he had tweeted, along with the claim that the protester it depicted was a member of ISIS. The video has since been proved as a hoax, neatly demonstrating the difficultly of navigating between truth and fiction in today’s digital landscape. In a world where even a layperson can manipulate images on their phone, and spread them to thousands of fake followers with one click, how can we begin to know what is #real?
It’s the kind of question that All I know is what’s on the Internet will pose, a new exhibition opening at The Photographers’ Gallery, London including work by 11 artists and collectives. It includes “social media machines” made by Australian designers Stephanie Kneissl & Maximilian Lackner, built to maximise activity and likes; and wall-mounted installations by Eva and Franco Mattes that reveal the lesser-known, surprisingly personal, world of online content moderators. Curated to draw attention to the neglected corners of digital image production, the show helps visualise the vast infrastructure of online platforms, and the enormous amount of human labour needed to keep it churning.
First featured in BJP in 2010 with her graduation project, Alma Haser came to wider attention two years later with a work titled The Ventriloquist. Struck by the identical, bowl-cut hairstyles of two close friends, Luke and James, she took their portrait – and image earned her a place on the shortlist for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. Despite the attention, Haser became disillusioned with 2D images and began to incorporate a form of paper manipulation to create her signature aesthetic. Rather than flattening the world around us, she now folds it into something new. “Experimentation has shaped my identity as an artist,” she says. “I’m always thinking about different sculptural approaches to photography and how I can build layers into the work.”